Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
31,000 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Volkswagen Beetle body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Volkswagen Beetle Owner Comments

problem #5

May 012010


  • 35,000 miles


While the rear driver's side window was being lowered by the 20 year old female driver it made a horrendous grinding noise which caused the driver to nearly lose control as she tried to stop quickly. She feared something in the rear wheel was breaking. A short time later the pasenger side window ground to a state of disrepair. Now the driver's side front window needs to be lowered very carefully to avoid engaging the automatic feature as this causes the window to make a terrible noise. This is very distracting to the driver to have to stop the window just before it reaches the fully open position. The rear windows have to be manually positioned just right to allow the convertible top to be lowered properly. Also, when small children are in the back seat they may be able to cause the windows to fall down all the way subjecting them to ejection or the ability to fall out of the vehicle on their own. When it is raining or snowing the elements fly in throught the windows because they won't stay up. This is also very distracting and dangerous especially with small children in the back seat. Repair estimates for the rear windows start at $1500 which this particular owner/driver cannot begin to afford!. VW refuses to address this problem.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #4

Apr 152010


  • 40,000 miles
Transmission will not shift out third gear, triptrontic automatic, leak in trunk, top will not go up.

- Piketon, OH, USA

problem #3

Jul 012009


  • 40,000 miles
I have a 2003 Volkswagen Beetle convertible. The back window of the convertible top is coming apart from the cloth top. I have read online several posts of many consumers having this same issue in the same make and model vehicle. This may be related to a defect in the glue or sealing they use to hold the window in concern is the back window may fall out while driving or even fall into the backseat onto someone causing sever injuries.

- York, PA, USA

problem #2

Jul 152009


  • 40,000 miles
Rear window is detaching from convertible top creating open space into car, rain entry and poor visibility thru rear view mirror when water is coming in. Fabric shrinking back from glass. Cannot be re glued. We have been advised the entire top must be replaced. Researching this on the internet as well as with a company that replaces convertible tops evidently his is common on the 2003 model. The rear convertible top window started falling out late 2008. I bought this car new and the warranty has expired. Too many safety concerns driving in bad weather.

- Saint Simons Island , GA, USA

problem #1

Jan 222007


  • miles
After any rain on my non-moving 2003 VW new Beetle water collects under the driver's seat floor pan causing the car to stink and mold to grow. I have tried numerous times to clear the sunroof drain with very limited success. The problem persistently returns.

- Ponte Vedra Beachf, FL, USA

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